More Misconceptions of the Far-Right

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misconceptions far-right

Last week’s column discussed how libertarians, classical liberals, and conservatives are being slandered as far-right. Since then, many more have been falsely accused of being part of the extreme right.

As you read further, you may notice what all of the following examples have in common. While diverse in ideology, each of the slandered individuals or groups oppose both the authoritarian left and authoritarian right. If this is all that is required to be considered far-right, everyone should reject any demand to “prove” they are not secretly fascists. It is better to ignore the label rather than giving it legitimacy.

The most recent victim of the far-right label is journalist Tim Pool, who recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. His criticism of Twitter’s handling of online “hate speech” on the podcast prompted a few verified Twitter users to throw the label on him, along with “Nazi sympathizer” and “alt-right lapdog.”

This is nothing new for Tim, but what’s notable about this situation is where he lies on the political spectrum. He’s not right-wing, or even a centrist. He’s quite left-leaning. But because he’s still to the right of socialists, he’s been labeled as far-right.

The next example refers not to an individual, but an entire political party: the UK Independence Party (UKIP). This party has been attacked as far-right by media outlets (especially The Guardian) for quite some time.

If they really were far-right in the way most people think, that should be quite evident in their Statement of Principles. And yet, when reading through it, we find no trace of anti-Semitism, white identity politics, or extreme authoritarianism. Instead we find positive mentions of libertarianism and free trade. It even declares itself a “non-racist democratic party.” Anyone familiar with far-right manifestos would find little in common with UKIP’s statement.

A recent CNN article once again used far-right to refer to Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay Jewish man in an interracial marriage. But even more incredible is the author’s inclusion of “climate-change deniers” as part of the far-right. The views of so-called “science-deniers” (and the climate debate as a whole) are often misunderstood, but to refer to them as far-right is something entirely different. Nobody (except the author of that article) would take into account someone’s views on climate change when determining if they are actually far-right. To disagree with the Green New Deal is now a far-right position, rather than the rational one.

Sometimes simply labeling a group as far-right is not the most effective way of attacking them. Instead, slanderers will associate that group with the far-right, hoping that the association is enough to define them as such in the minds of readers.

A recent article in the New Statesman has tied support for gold as currency to the far-right. When talking about the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the author claims that “[g]old played an especially visible role in the rise of the far-right AfD…” and works to tie support for gold with the far-right. This is another means of guilt by association. Valuing gold helps the far-right. And everyone knows helping the far-right is the worst thing one can do.

These examples of misapplying the term far-right are only from the past week. The legitimate far-right is indeed a threat, but it seems that the mainstream left has devoted their energy to attacking libertarians, centrists, and anyone to the right of Mao.

You can read more from Nathan Kreider on Being Libertarian here.

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Nathan A. Kreider is the host of The Conversation, a podcast about ideas and how to spread them. He also publishes a blog and video content, including short book reviews, which can be found on his website nkreider.com. He can be contacted by email via [email protected]